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Old October 25th, 2016, 10:28 PM   #21
Why-Why
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Rock Chapel


Rock Chapel sounds like an Elvis Presley movie.
But actually it’s a nature reserve owned by the Royal Botanical Gardens on top of the Niagara Escarpment just north of Cootes Paradise.
The name comes from a wooden church built in 1822 but long gone.
On this short hike from the centre of Dundas we’ll view the landscape at the western tip of Lake Ontario from an elevated perspective.
We’ll also get a geology lesson before we end up at the brim of a tall ribbon waterfall.




Map courtesy of Royal Botanical Gardens http://www.rbg.ca/files/pdf/gardenar...esTrailMap.pdf


From the centre of Dundas we ascend the Escarpment via Sydenham Road.
Then we take the dotted trail from the P for Parking (on the extreme left of the map) along its crest as far as Borer’s Creek Gorge (top centre).
There are numerous viewpoints to the southwest over Cootes Paradise marsh (bottom right).




Sydenham Road ascends the Escarpment steeply ...




... rising about 100 meters over the course of a single kilometer ...




... and if you decide to walk up but don’t enjoy the proximity of speeding traffic, there’s a rough but picturesque section of the main Bruce Trail on the scarp face just below Sydenham Road that will take you right to the top of the Escarpment.




You cross over railroad tracks a third of the way up ...




... and at the top there’s a great view over the mouth of the Dundas Valley, with downtown Hamilton in the distance.




A little farther to the east, the bridges at the eastern end of Cootes Paradise come into sight ...




... and as we zoom in we can now see that the sylvan idyll is a bit of an illusion ...




The sailboats “over” the high bridge are in Hamilton Harbour.
The larger stretch of water to the left of the silos is Burlington Bay.
Cutting off Harbour and Bay from main Lake Ontario are the massive steel plants and associated industries that stretch almost five miles along the Hamilton lakeshore.
Not so long ago, this area was among the most polluted in Canada.
Though with the decline of the steel industry and the growth of a new post-industrial economy, things are starting to change for the better.

(To be continued)

Last edited by Why-Why; July 19th, 2017 at 10:19 PM.
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Old October 26th, 2016, 01:59 AM   #22
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Beautiful and interesting pictures Very nice colours of nature
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Old October 27th, 2016, 05:00 PM   #23
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Rock Chapel (concluded)




This notice on the crest of the Escarpment claims we are entering a “naturally connected EcoPark system.”
This flim-flam is a rebrand of “Green Belt” and represents wishful thinking rather than reality.
The problem that won’t go away is that lots of people want to live in this beautiful area within commuting distance of Toronto and its satellite cities.
Not even the steep slope of the Escarpment is entirely safe from developers.

But let’s learn a little more about the Escarpment that dominates the local landscape.




To do so we continue walking east along the Bruce Trail until we come to a long flight of metal stairs leading steeply downwards.




As we descend the stairs, a series of signs (e.g., the above) indicate the kind of rock stratum that we are level with ...




... and we find we are travelling back in time, from the glacial till of the last ice age (about 15,000 years ago) at the top of the Escarpment ...
... to Grimsby shale from the Silurian Era, the lowest exposed stratum.
Our 40-metre descent takes us through eight different strata and back about 430 million years.
Apparently the Escarpment wasn’t caused by a sudden earthquake, but by unequal erosion over millions of years.
Hard to get your mind around the lengths of time involved!

Returning to the trail, we continue eastward, watching our step as the edge of the Escarpment is steep and unfenced, and tree roots abound ...




... and there are other hazards to keep an eye out for.




Still, it’s hard to concentrate on your feet when a gap in the autumn foliage reveals a spectacular view.




Finally we arrive at the head of a narrow gorge and the top of a small but picturesque ribbon waterfall.
First we arrive at the lip, only a couple of metres from the trail ...




... and it’s only after we’ve rounded the lip that we get a good view of 15-metre-high Borer’s Falls ...




... which seems to be eroding away the edge of the Escarpment as we watch.
Geology in action!
This is Borer’s Creek, on its way down into Dundas Valley to join Spencer Creek, before both empty into Cootes Paradise.

Last edited by Why-Why; July 19th, 2017 at 06:06 PM.
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Old October 29th, 2016, 04:52 PM   #24
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Dundas Gothic (1)





We have no title-deeds to house or lands;
Owners and occupants of earlier dates
From graves forgotten stretch their dusty hands,
And hold in mortmain still their old estates.

(Longfellow, “Haunted Houses”)




Dundas is an old town surrounded by beetling cliffs.
Though the day-to-day atmosphere is generally cosy and welcoming, there is a definite Gothic undercurrent that comes to the surface at this time of year.




Fall lamppost decorations are a little bit Children-of-the Corn ...







... some businesses come into their own ...




... and others get into the act.




Meanwhile, it may be wise to enlist a demon of one’s own to ward off any others that might get uppity.

Last edited by Why-Why; July 19th, 2017 at 05:36 PM.
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Old October 29th, 2016, 05:07 PM   #25
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Autumn always produces the most atmospheric imagery.
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Old October 31st, 2016, 04:46 PM   #26
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Dundas Gothic 2


Happy Halloween!



























Last edited by Why-Why; July 19th, 2017 at 05:29 PM.
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Old November 1st, 2016, 02:45 PM   #27
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Nice pics of this little town. Has it any connection with the famous Dundas Square and Dundas St in Toronto?
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Old November 1st, 2016, 04:23 PM   #28
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That's a very interesting question, Nightsky, and not one with an easy answer. It'll be the subject of a future post, so please watch this space.
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Old November 2nd, 2016, 10:10 AM   #29
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Wonderful pics of nice Halloween decorations, Why-Why!
Love the one with the chair best.
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Old November 2nd, 2016, 04:51 PM   #30
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Many thanks to Romashka, Jane, Nightsky and Yansa from the Land of the Maple Leaf.
More to come soon.

Last edited by Why-Why; July 19th, 2017 at 05:13 PM.
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Old November 2nd, 2016, 05:26 PM   #31
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What a beauty...
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Old November 3rd, 2016, 09:20 PM   #32
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amazing tree
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Old November 3rd, 2016, 09:36 PM   #33
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Great, very nice updates; well done
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Old November 5th, 2016, 05:16 PM   #34
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Many thanks to Yansa, Leongname, Christos, and other visitors!

Desjardins Trail

It’s a fine day in November and time for a short walk along the Desjardins Recreation Trail (opened 1996).
In a one-kilometer stretch we’ll complete our near-circuit of Cootes Paradise, examine at close quarters the numerous bridges at the east end of the marsh, visit the sites of a rail disaster and a conflict zone, and get a foretaste of Hamilton Harbour and the main Lake.
What we see will help explain why Dundas, the older town, is now is part of Hamilton rather than the other way around.




The trail begins at the south-east corner of Cootes Paradise near Princess Point.




It’s a fairly level lakeside multi-use pathway with a good surface and proper lighting ...




... with fine views of the Royal Botanical Gardens properties on the north shore of the marsh.




Soon the north-western part of the marsh comes into view, including wooded Dundas Peak ...




... and then the whole vista opens up.
That’s Dundas, about 4 km away to the west.
This is one of the few spots from which you can see all three sides of the Valley at once.




Just before we make a sharp turn to the east is the Fishway ...




... i.e., a barrier to stop invasive species like common carp and goldfish from entering the marsh.




Someone’s poised to mop up the fish that don’t make it through.

(To be continued)

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Old November 7th, 2016, 03:11 PM   #35
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Desjardins Trail (continued)



Now the trail runs alongside the narrow channel under the first set of bridges.
This ugly pair carry the six lanes of Highway 403 along the isthmus ...




... and a little farther on two railway bridges appear, and above them a high-level bridge carrying traffic on York Boulevard.
The trail ahead is blocked by a construction crew.




To get a better view of the surroundings, we climb this steel stairway up to the highest bridge, taking in some interesting graffiti as we pause for breath:













This is what the top of the bridge looks like, part of a grand entrance to Hamilton ...




... with a heritage designation.
McQuesten was the Ontario Provincial Minister (1934-43) behind such notable highway initiatives as the Queen Elizabeth Way (QEW) and the Niagara Parkway.




The 1932 bridge is a handsome, if slightly worse-for-wear Art Deco structure ...




... bearing the Hamilton civic arms.
Love that snarling beaver!

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Old November 7th, 2016, 07:14 PM   #36
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Nice updates! Really had to smile about the little devil with the red satchel!
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Old November 9th, 2016, 04:19 PM   #37
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Thanks, Yansa. Yes, he's a cute little devil!
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Old November 9th, 2016, 04:30 PM   #38
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Desjardins Trail (continued)



The height of the bridge allows contrasting views in almost all directions.
Below to the west is Highway 403 ...




... but you only have to raise your eyes to view the whole of placid Cootes Paradise.





Immediately below is the channel, a fragment of the Desjardins Canal that once linked Dundas to Lake Ontario via the marsh.
When completed in 1837 the canal led to a spurt in prosperity for Dundas.
But the canal found itself in competition with new railroads, while steam-powered industry no longer needed the water power provided by Spencer Creek and the edge of the Escarpment.
The canal soon proved too narrow to accommodate new steamboats, and it kept silting up.
So Hamilton with its large natural harbour on Lake Ontario supplanted Dundas as the local industrial centre.




From up here you can see that the narrow isthmus actually supports a railway junction, hence the two bridges ...




... and intense construction work is taking place on those bridges.




This section of track needs to be well maintained.
On 12 March 1857 it was the site of a major rail disaster that killed 59 people.
Read more about this at http://www.hpl.ca/articles/desjardins-canal-disaster

Last edited by Why-Why; July 19th, 2017 at 05:03 AM.
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Old November 11th, 2016, 05:08 PM   #39
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Desjardins Trail (concluded)




Immediately to the east, there is a peaceful cove in Hamilton harbour ...




... and beyond it, the broad expanse of Burlington Bay.




The great bridge is the Burlington Skyway, carrying the QEW between Toronto and the US border at Fort Erie.
The main Lake is on the other side of the Skyway.
But this part of Hamilton Harbour is deep enough to accommodate the quite large ships that navigate the Great Lakes system.




Not far from our viewpoint on the high-level bridge, a stone bears an enigmatic inscription ...




... that a nearby plaque clarifies.


This high, narrow neck of land between Cootes Paradise and Hamilton Harbour was once called Burlington Heights.
It played a key role as a British stronghold and supply depot during the War of 1812.
This was the conflict in which the British and their First Nation allies repelled an invasion ... by Americans!
The Battle of Stoney Creek, which took place on 6 June 1813 about 13 km to the east, was the decisive engagement in this conflict.
Upper Canada would not become part of the USA.




This historic spot therefore helped assure the very existence of the country that we now call Canada.

Last edited by Why-Why; July 19th, 2017 at 04:53 AM.
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Old November 12th, 2016, 11:27 AM   #40
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Once again great, very nice updates
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